unto me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the Lord: look
unto the rock whence ye are hewen, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are
It is one thing to read
God’s Word, but another thing to obey it, for knowledge divorced from
obedience brings chastisement rather than blessing.
in the present context
means justice or redress.
The rock is a symbol of
Christ, and as what is cut from a rock is of the same character, the lesson
being taught is that we are to keep our eyes fixed on Him as our Example so
that we may exhibit Christlikeness in our daily lives. The literal rock
being inanimate feels nothing when it is broken or crushed, but how
different was it with the Rock from which we have been hewen! What He
suffered at Calvary eludes human comprehension.
Many understand the rock
here to mean Israel’s ancestor Abraham.
The hole of the pit
is a graphic portrait of our unsaved state. We were “dead in trespasses and
in sins,” Ephesians 2:1, and but for cleansing in Christ’s blood must have
descended into the eternal torment of that awful pit mentioned in Matthew
25:41-46, “Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from
me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels
.... And these shall to away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous
into life eternal.”
unto Abraham your father, and the unto Sarah that bare you: for I called him
alone, and blessed him, and increased him.”
Abraham was childless, and
Sarah barren until the Lord gave them Isaac through whom they were
miraculously multiplied. Israel too, which was the least among the nations,
and is still comparatively small, will be multiplied in the Millennium and
made head of the nations. But the ultimate application is to the Lord
Jesus Christ: believers, the children whom the Father has given Him, being a
multitude impossible to number.
51:3. “For the
Lord shall comfort Zion (Jerusalem): He will comfort all her waste places;
and He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of
the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the
voice of melody.”
This awaits fulfillment in
the Millennium. See also comments on Isaiah 35:1 in this present study.
unto me, my people; and give ear unto me, O my nation: for a law shall
proceed from me, and I will make my judgment (justice) to rest for a light
of the people.”
The NEB translates the
latter part of this verse, “.... for my law shall shine forth ... and I will
flash the light of my judgment over the nations ....” and TAYLOR renders the
latter part, “for I will see that right prevails.”
righteousness (deliverance) is near; my salvation is gone forth, and mine
arms shall judge the people; the isles shall wait upon me, and on mine arm
shall they trust.”
The description continues
to be of universal peace and blessing in the Millennium.
51:6. “Lift up
your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens
shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment,
and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall
be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished.
This directs us to the end
of the Millennium when the present heavens and earth will be dissolved as
recorded in 2 Peter 3:10, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in
the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and
the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that
are therein shall be burned up.”
justifies the belief that He will remove believers from the earth prior to
that destruction, just as Scripture assures us that He will take believers
of this present dispensation to heaven prior to the outpouring of the
judgments of the impending Great Tribulation, see 1 Corinthians 15:51-52,
“Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be
changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the
trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we (who
are still living) shall be changed.”
“... the day of the Lord”
refers to God’s destruction of the present heavens and earth at the end of
the Millennium, and is to be distinguished from “the day of God” which
refers to the eternal state that will follow that catastrophic judgment.
The eternal existence of
God’s salvation is the guarantee that the believer can never loose it: the
righteousness of Christ which clothes every saint cannot be lost.
unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law;
fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings.”
Those referred to as “...
ye that know righteousness ... in whose heart is my law” are they who
possess that knowledge not just theoretically but experimentally. They are
born-again believers, and God exhorts them to have no fear of the taunts and
insults of men. The Lord will preserve them, and His commendation and
reward given at the Bema (His judgment seat), will be abundant compensation
for everything they may have suffered here on earth for His sake, as it is
written, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the
heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him,” 1
Corinthians 2:9, and relative to loving Him, He Himself said, “If ye love
me, keep my commandments .... He that hath my commandments, and keepeth
them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my
Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him,” John
14:15,21, the practical display of that love being demonstrated in love for
all believers, see John 13:35, “By this shall all men know that ye are my
disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
In this, as in everything
else, the Lord Jesus Christ is our perfect Example, and relative to His
response to the reproaches and revilings of men it is recorded that, “Who,
when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not;
but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously,” 1 Peter 2:23, see
also Matthew 5:11-12, “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and
persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my
sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven:
for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”
51:8. “For the
moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like
wool: but my righteousness shall be for ever, and my salvation from
generation to generation.”
As moths devour garments,
and worms wool, so will unbelievers be consumed by God’s wrath, their
ultimate end being consignment to eternal torment in the lake of fire “where
their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched,” see Mark 9:44,46 and
48. In stark contrast with the terrible eternal fate of the unconverted is
the unending blessedness of the redeemed.
awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord; awake, as in the ancient days, in
the generation of old. Art thou not it that hath cut Rahab [Egypt], and
wounded the dragon?”
Amplified Bible translates this verse as follows:
“[Zion now cries to the Lord God of Israel] Awake, awake, put on strength
and might, O arm of the Lord; awake as in the ancient days, in the
generations of long ago. Was it not You who cut Rahab [Egypt] in pieces,
Who pierced the dragon [symbol of Egypt]....”
As Babylon represents the
world’s false religious systems, so does Egypt symbolize its great
commercial and financial institutions, and here the redeemed, represented by
Zion, call upon the Lord to execute judgment upon that same sinful world.
Believers of this present age however, are imbued with a very different
spirit: we are to seek, not the destruction of unbelievers, but rather their
salvation, the Lord’s command being, “Go ye into all the world, and preach
the gospel to every creature,” Mark 16:15.
thou not it which hath dried the sea, the water of the great deep; that hath
made the depths of the sea a way for the ransomed to pass over?”
The “it” here is the arm
of the Lord which divided the Red Sea so that His redeemed people could
cross dry-shod out of Egypt into Canaan, that miraculous crossing being a
type of the believer’s safe passage through the sea of unconverted humanity,
on his way home to heaven. It may also be a type of the rapture of the
“Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto
Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain
gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.”
This points to the
blessedness of Israel in the Millennium when their joy and gladness will be
shared by all the nations, but it may be also a type of the eternal
blessedness of the redeemed in heaven.
even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be
afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as
This comforting assurance
extends beyond the Israel of Isaiah’s day, and embraces every saint of every
dispensation. The believer need have no fear of those who can kill only the
body which God will raise again, see Matthew 10:28, “And fear not them which
kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which
is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” The One to be feared is not
Satan, who lacks this power, but God, for He alone is omnipotent.
Man’s being “made as
grass” has reference only to his human body, which will be raised again
either at the resurrection of life or of damnation, depending on whether he
dies as a believer or as a reprobate.
forgettest the Lord thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and
laid the foundations of the earth; and hast feared continually every day
because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? And
where is the fury of the oppressor?”
It is folly for an
obedient believer to fear the wrath of man who can do no more than God
orders or permits, see Proverbs 29:25 and James 1:20, “The fear of man
bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe ....
For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” We ought to
fear however, when our activity is impelled only by the energy of the flesh.
captive exile hasteneth that he may be loosed, and that he should not die in
the pit, nor that his bread should fail.”
The primary application is
to Israel held captive in Babylon, but the comfort is also ours who live
here in mortal bodies in a hostile world.
Faith in the Lord Jesus
Christ as Savior has delivered us from going down into “the pit,” i.e.,
hell, for we have the assurance that, “... to be absent from the body is to
be present with the Lord” 2 Corinthians 5:8, “which is far better,”
Since having bread implies
satisfaction, the assurance of the last clause of the verse is that we will
be perfectly satisfied when we behold our Savior’s face in heaven, see Psalm
17:15, “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be
satisfied when I awake, with thy likeness,” “righteousness” here having
reference to our righteousness which will then be perfect, with nothing of
the flesh to mar; and “satisfied” meaning to be completely full, sated,
leaving nothing more to be desired.
51:15. “But I
am the Lord thy God, that divided the sea, whose waves roared: The Lord of
hosts (armies) is his name.”
The reference is to God’s
division of the Red Sea to enable Israel to escape from the pursuing
Egyptians whom He then drowned in those same waters.
51:16. “And I
have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of
mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the
earth, and say unto Zion, thou art my people.”
rendering of this verse reads, “And I have put My words in your mouth and
have covered you in the shadow of My hand, that I may fix the new heavens as
a tabernacle, and lay the foundations of a new earth, and say to Zion, You
are My people.”
The words are addressed to
those believers who will pass out of the Millennium into the eternal state,
and who will enjoy eternal blessings when the present heavens and earth are
replaced with new ones, see Isaiah 65:17, “For, behold, I create new heavens
and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into
mind,” and 2 Peter 3:13, “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look
for a new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
Zion (Jerusalem) as used
here designates all Millennial age believers, Jews and Gentiles alike.
awake, stand up O Jerusalem, which hast drunk at the hand of the Lord the
cup of his fury; thou hast drunken the dregs of the cup of trembling, and
wrung them out.”
“... the cup of His fury,
etc.,” is a synonym for the terrible tribulation age judgments that will
ravage not just Jerusalem, but the whole world.
is none to guide her among all the sons whom she hath brought forth; neither
is there any that taketh her by the hand of all the sons that she hath
In spite of her claim to
be God’s chosen people apostate Israel had not produced one son capable of
showing her her error, and when that one Son was given by God she, failing
to recognize Him, crucified Him.
two things are come unto thee; who shall be sorry for thee? desolation, and
destruction, and the famine, and the sword: by whom shall I comfort thee?”
“Two kinds of calamities
have befallen you, but who feels sorry and commiserates you? They are
desolation and destruction [on the land and city], and famine and the sword
[on the inhabitants]; how shall I comfort you or by whom?” The Amplified
This declares the
impossibility of Israel’s being comforted or delivered by anyone other than
God, and the same truth applies to us in the midst of seeming calamity, our
comfort being conveyed in the assurance that “All things work together for
good to them that love God ....” Romans 8:28.
sons are fainted, they lie at the head of all the streets, as a wild bull
(antelope) in a net: they are full of the fury of the Lord, the rebuke of
This has been fulfilled
more than once in Jerusalem’s sad history, as when she fell to Babylon in
537 BC, and to the Romans in AD 70, these two sackings being but the
foreshadowings of her coming trials in the Great Tribulation.
“... wild bull” is
generally translated “antelope.”
“Therefore hear now this, thou afflicted, and drunken, but not with wine:”
Israel’s being “drunken,
but not with wine” means that her sinful conduct was the spiritual
equivalent of that of a drunken man, so befuddled had her thinking become
relative to the difference between right and wrong.
saith thy Lord the Lord, and thy God that pleadeth the cause of his people,
Behold, I have taken out of thine hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs
of the cup of my fury; thou shalt no more drink it again;”
“... thy Lord the Lord”
emphasizes the unique relationship existing between Israel and God: her Lord
is the Almighty, the Lord of heaven and earth, the Creator.
His taking away “the cup
of trembling ... of my fury” is His assurance that she has been forgiven, a
condition that awaits fulfillment in the Millennium.
51:23. “But I
will put it into the hand of them that afflict thee; which have said to thy
soul, Bow down, that we may go over: and thou hast laid thy body as the
ground, and as the street, to them that went over.”
“I will give it instead to
your tormentors and oppressors ... those who said to you, ‘Lie down and we
will walk over you; / and you made your backs like the ground beneath them,
/ like a roadway for passers-by,” is the NEB rendering of this verse.
This is the metaphoric
description of what Israel has indeed suffered at the hands of the Gentiles
countless times, and indicates the contempt in which she is still held today
in the hearts of many; but things will be very different in the Millennium.
Then she will be promoted to the place of supremacy among the nations who
will then consider it an honor to serve her.
Some understand this
description to be of what Israel suffered when the Babylonians destroyed